Red snapper is one of my most favorite fish and so every time I go to the fish market I look out for these and purchase them without any second thought. This kind tastes so good and they are so tender, juicy and succulent, but the only draw back is these fishes are so bony. But still the taste is so good and you will not stop devouring just a single piece. Whenever I make this tangy spicy fish curry without coconuts I choose red snapper or chalai (Indian oil sardines) as they suit this curry really well. The fish pieces absorbs all the flavors really well and stays so tender and succulent that you will end up finishing all the fish pieces, drinking the curry and even licking your plate. This curry is so hot and tangy that it will just tickle your tongue and you will definitely need to sip some water after every mouth. This is my husband's most favorite curry and he always loves to have this with hot boiled rice. If you love red snapper just like me, you can check out this delicious fish kuruma. Also if you are a hunter for tangy fish curries then you must definitely check out Raw mango fish curry. Let see how I made this curry.
INGREDIENTSServes 2 to 3 people
Total Preparation Time - 30 to 40 minutes
- Sankara fish / Red snapper - 2 fishes (scaled and chopped into 2)
- Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized ball
- Big onion - 1
- Shallots / Pearl onions - 5 + 5
- Green chilly - 2 (slit)
- Ginger - 1 inch piece
- Garlic pods - 4
- Tomato - 1
- Curry leaves - 1 spoon + 2 spoons
- Red chilli powder - 2 spoons + 1 spoon
- Coriander powder - 2 spoons
- Mustard seeds / Kadugu - 1 spoon
- Fenugreek / Vendhayam -
- Cumin seeds / Jeeragam - 1 spoon
- Salt - As per taste
- Gingelly oil - 10 spoons + 5 spoons + 3 spoons
- Soak tamarind in a bowl of warm water (200 ml) for 10 to 15 minutes and set aside. After it gets soaked well mash it using your fingers and extract the tamarind water and set aside. Discard the pulp.
- Wash fish pieces well in water and pat dry with a kitchen towel or tissue paper, then marinate the fish pieces with 1 spoon of red chilli powder and salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Scrape off skin from ginger, peel skin from garlic pods, shallots, big onion and set aside. Chop tomato into 4 pieces. Chop big onions into smaller pieces. Keep 5 shallots aside for making paste and chop the rest. Slit green chillies into two and set aside.
- Now make a fine paste with the following ingredients and set aside;
(Fine Masala Paste)
1. Ginger - 1 inch piece
2. Garlic pods - 4
3. Shallots - 5
- Now take a pan add 5 spoons of oil and shallow fry the fish pieces in it. (use a non-stick pan to avoid sticking) until the fish pieces are 3/4th done, just tossing both the sides of marinated fish for a minute on high flame will do. Once done remove from flame and set aside.
- Now take a pan / pot (use a wide mouthed pan or pot) add oil into it and after it heats up add mustard seeds, and let it splutter, then add 2 spoons of curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and saute for a few seconds (do not let it brown).
- Add chopped onions, little salt and saute until it turns slightly brownish.
- Now add the slit green chillies and saute for a minute.
- Add ginger garlic and small onion paste and saute until the raw smell leaves.
- Then add red chilli powder and coriander powder and saute well. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir well, cook on low flame until the raw smell leaves and oil separates.
- Then add the tomato pieces and stir well cook for 2 minutes on low flame.
- Now pour half of the tamarind water and stir well. Pour some extra water to adjust the gravy consistency, do not pour too much of water. Now check for tangy flavor and add the remaining tamarind water if you want more sour flavor. This is upto your choice.
- Check for salt and add if necessary.
- Cook the on high flame until it boils well. Then switch the flame to low mode and gently slide in the fried fish pieces along with the oil used to fry the fish pieces and close the pan / pot with a lid. Do not stir now. Cook for another 3 or 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile in another pan add 3 spoons of oil and after it heats up add chopped shallots (5 shallots) and 1 spoon of curry leaves and saute well until the shallots turns brownish. Remove from flame.
- Now open the lid and pour the above tempering mixture when its still hot.
- Remove the curry from flame close with a lid and keep aside for 30 minutes before serving. You can serve immediately but the flavors gets well absorbed by the fish as time passes.
TIP 1: The curry is spicy but you can adjust the spiciness according to your wish. You can avoid adding green chillies and reduce some red chilli powder in case you want it less spicy. But make it tangy enough if you are making it spicy, these two flavors complements each other well.
TIP 2: Always see that the curry is thick enough before you add the fish pieces, if in case its watery cook until it thickens well. But if it does not still thicken add some coconut paste. So always take care to pour only little water while making the curry. Only after the curry thickens add the fish pieces. Never cook for more than 5 minutes after adding the fish pieces if you do so it will make the fish pieces break and dissolve in the curry.
TIP 3: You can use any other fish types also to make this curry. Indian oil sardines (Chalai / Mathi) and anchovies are other best choices for making this curry.
TIP 4: Adding more onions gives a nice flavor and thickness to the curry so add more onions to the curry. If possible use shallots to get a nice flavor.
TIP 5: You can add the fish pieces directly into gravy without prior frying, but frying enhances the flavor of fish and the curry. But do not roast the fish pieces too much this may make the fish pieces lose the juicy nature.
Spicy, tangy and super flavorful Sankara fish curry is now ready!! Serve with hot boiled rice or soft fluffy idlis and dosas!!